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All around our visual world are words, and the words are in different sizes, shapes and colors. The selection of font, or typeface, is a persuasive communicative tool whether it is on television, the web, on signs and billboards, in books, magazines or in newspapers. Typeface, or font selection, effects how we read the content or message and is a tool for how we express our ideas. Typeface can be serious, playful, formal, contemporary, historical, frightening and surprising! The selection of type, its color, weight, kerning and tracking, all add to the power of how something is shared. A financial paper looks different than a thriller movie poster and both are different than a kindergarten early-reader book. There are always new fonts being designed. Computers come with certain fonts, but additional font sets can be purchased or can be found for free online. Typography supports the content of the message.

find YOUR font!

Activity 1 – Collect Fonts!

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Take a walk around your house to collect twenty-five different fonts. Cutting out words from newspapers, magazines and dry food boxes will be a good start. Sort them first into serif and sans serif fonts. Next, sort the serif and sans serif fonts into regular and italic. Pick one word like “Hello” or “Good–bye”. Type the word in different size, color, and font styles to express different expressions of hello or goodbye. Have a friend read them to you to see if your font type effects how they express their greeting.

Fonts are expressive!

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Activity 2 – Express Yourself!

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First, type ten different human emotions such as happy, mad, fearful, timid, etc. Select each word, one at a time and change the font style and size. Try to make each word express the essence of the emotion. Print out your words, cut them and paste them in your journal. Ask a friend if your font choice makes them feel that emotion. If they say, “yes,” you will have succeeded! Repeat the same exercise except now type ten different ways of moving, such as slow, fast, up, down, sleepily, grumpily, etc. Next research architecture or design quotes. Pick three quotes. Type them each in three different font styles using regular, bold, and italic. Decide which font seems to best fit the quotes that you have chosen. Tape the quotes in your journal and label font type and size..

Find YOUR Font!!

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Activity 3 – Make an Alphafont Poster!

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This time leave your computer behind and step out into the world. Take a watch and a digital camera and prepare to seek the 26 letters of the alphabet in your town. Ready. Set. Go! Look at signs, writing on the wall, billboards and bumper stickers. As you find a letter, photograph it, circle it on your paper, and record the address. See how long it takes you to find all 26 letters. Chalk art (by you or others) helps with the difficult letters! Back at the computer, download your alphabet photos, print them out, and cut and paste them on a poster board. Title it A-Z Around Town.

Review

  • Serif means that letters have small features at the ends of the letter.
  • Sans serif fonts are more widely used on the computer.
  • Tracking refers to inter character spacing.
  • All fonts are available on all computers.
  • Fonts can express what you see in your imagination.
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